Digital access to government information: To what extent are agencies in compliance with EFOIA?

Oltmann, Shannon M. and Rosenbaum, Howard and Hara, Noriko Digital access to government information: To what extent are agencies in compliance with EFOIA?, 2006 . In 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), Austin (US), 3-8 November 2006. [Conference paper]


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English abstract

Citizen access to government information is thought by many to be a cornerstone of democracy. The Electronic Freedom of Information Act (EFOIA), passed in 1996, established a legal right for people to request and receive government information in digital format and required agencies to provide specific information on their websites. Many commentators agreed that this law was a positive step and would improve citizen access to government information. This paper adopts a social informatics perspective to assess this prevailing view by examining the underlying assumptions about technology on which discourse is based. It then supports this critical assessment with an empirical investigation. First, compliance with Department of Justice guidelines was examined (following Gordon-Murnane, 1999). Then we analyzed the content of agencies’ electronic reading rooms to determine if they were in compliance with the law. Our analysis determined that agencies are in better compliance with the Department of Justice guidelines, but many do not comply with the legal requirements. Agencies could improve their compliance with the letter and the spirit of EFOIA. In this way, our study contributes to bodies of research concerned with information access, social informatics, and digital government.

Item type: Conference paper
Keywords: citizens ; information access ; government agencies ; legal compliance
Subjects: E. Publishing and legal issues. > EZ. None of these, but in this section.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BA. Use and impact of information.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BC. Information in society.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BF. Information policy
Depositing user: Norm Medeiros
Date deposited: 10 Jan 2007
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:06


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